Stay In The Game

Stay In The Game

Video game difficulty settings should be –

1. Full Time Job
2. Part Time
3. Unemployed

– Trevor Noah, The Daily Show

Building a startup just got much harder the 107th week of  Urban.Us updates. In week 33, we first noted rumblings about burn rates from Fred Wilson. In week 81 Bill Gurly made a much stronger case asking founders to consider “no funding” scenarios. Investors are the unemployed 9-year-olds of the startup world. They know their game. Founders ignore the best players at their own peril.

“It’s always the other guy who may suffer” says Venky Ganesan in the NYTimes. This seems typical of founders who are diligently building and haven’t played enough to know how much the game has changed. Investors aren’t just trying to get better terms. It’s essential to understand that fundraising just got much, much harder. The change is already visible in the data:

Fenwick has deal data from last quarter in 4Q1015 analysis of closed deals, which showed more down rounds and smaller increases in valuations.

Mark Suster aggregated perspectives from 158 VCs to arrive at what VC’s are thinking about.

Danielle Morrill has reflected on some of the best data and analysis at Mattermark. Now she’s acting on her own data as she explains in how not to die.  

For some it will be the first time laying people off. For others it means longer hours as you delay new hires. All options are better than shutting down. And if you do eventually fail, the worst case might be that you need to find a new gig. Hey you might become part of a documentary of an epic startup failure (yep, I got to experience Startup.com first hand). 

Chris Dixon offers a timely view of financial markets versus tech progress to remind us that “…the future is coming: markets go up and down, and excitement ebbs and flows, but computing technology marches steadily forward.” And if you’re working on Urbantech, there are some longer term trends that should motivate you.

Re-imagining cities is an essential part of climate action. Just like the steady progress of tech, so global temperatures continue to climb. In fact, last year was the hottest year since record keeping began in 1880. The startup game has changed, but the most important reasons to play haven’t.

Stay in the game.